25 years ago this month, I met the love of my life, my soul-mate. My mother had told me since I was a little girl that “Mr. Wonderful” would show up one day… and so he did!
It was Easter in Jackson, Mississippi and for some strange reason the ballet company I danced with had dropped it’s weekend engagement -meaning we would not be boarding our bus again and traveling to some area of the United States to perform.
We had just come off the road with a short turn-around and prepared to leave, but schedules can change quickly with a touring company. Thus was my life as a dancer. I didn’t have time to make the 6 hour drive to Atlanta to see my parents so I decided to make the best of it in my little flower dress, and went to church alone.
It was a beautiful morning and I sang all the way there. My friend, Dawn, the pastor’s daughter, met me coming in and waved me over to sit with her. What a joy, there weren’t many young adults in the congregation. She and her new husband invited me for lunch afterwards.
Somewhere in the first few minutes of greetings and songs a guy had slipped into our pew, next to Dawn. I nudged her and asked who he was. They obviously knew each other. Her face lit up as she began to tell me all about this long-time friend of her family’s who was now in Louisiana at college (Tulane).
Her whispers, turned to notes as her dad started preaching. This fella sure was handsome and I was glad I’d curled my hair, but the more she gushed about all of his accomplishments and academic achievements the more intimidated I became.
She wanted to set us up on a date. I panicked. I could see her match-making eyes, dreaming of our future together. Instead, I suggested inviting him to lunch, feeling sure that as soon as he heard I was nothing more than a vagabond ballet dancer trouping all over the country, he’d bow out after lunch.
But then… I shook his hand. I don’t remember him saying his name or who was standing around us. I just remember looking into those blue, blue eyes and feeling his warm hand incasing mine. I was in a daze after that. I could hardly breath, much less eat lunch or function.
Days turned into weeks. We learned about each other through cards and letters (snail-mail). We had our first date 3 weeks later -as schedules finally permitted. 4 days together in the same town and we were secretly engaged. A month later we announced our engagement! 6 months after that, we were married.
Today he tells me he never had a doubt. The very day we had lunch he drove to his grandpa’s house near by and told him, “I just met the girl I’m gonna marry.” And he did.